Heritage Building Pathology | Professional Intensive Program

Heritage Building Pathology | Professional Intensive Program

There is a critical shortage of heritage professionals who perform Building Pathology on the vast stock of older houses and commercial buildings across Canada and the United States.

Request your Zoom interview with Dr. Christopher Cooper. Please fill out the form below. Now taking applications for Winter/Spring 2023

The Heritage Building Pathology Professional Intensive provides a detailed knowledge of how buildings are constructed and function, and the various mechanisms by which their structural, material, and environmental conditions can be affected by neglect, modern materials and/or poor workmanship.

This Intensive trains the prospective student intern on how to investigate and address the general repair and maintenance of heritage buildings both commercial and residential in a sympathetic and sustainable manner. 

This professional intensive will provide clear understanding of how the existing heritage building was meant to function prior to the modern age of construction (pre-1950’s) and how best to remediate problems without creating new issues to the historic fabric of the structure.  Most heritage buildings function better with a full understanding of how they were originally built and how to make those systems work again to the benefit of the property owner.

The aim of the course is to provide technical training around the key principles of Building Pathology and provide you with knowledge and techniques in a multidisciplinary role.

At its most basic, a Building Pathology Report describes:

  • what type of work is needed;
  • Identify risks to the heritage, for example – fire, flooding, vandalism or lack of access to areas of a building;
  • why it is critical to your client’s project and ultimately their preservation plan;
  • which type of professional skills will be needed to implement works; and
  • does not damage heritage unnecessarily;
  • anticipates impact on different kinds of materials and includes action to reduce that impact;
  • recommends use of appropriate materials;
  • uses an appropriate approach to restoration, reconstruction and the reinstatement of lost features as it relates to the design era of the building.


  • Build upon student interns’ previously developed knowledge in order that they may be better able to address a career in Building Pathology;
  • Advance the student interns’ ability to recognize, analyze and remedy building defects;
  • Progress the students’ ability to apply building pathology to different situations;
  • Provide building pathology perspective on principles, materials, construction and specific situations; and
  • Encourage competence in the professional skills of communicating, reporting and communicating to clients on building pathology matters.

Having the knowledge and understanding of heritage construction technology and building pathology means you will be equipped to provide a wide range of services to your clients both private and public, including contract administration, construction and environmental services, inspection, building pathology, project management and legal and regulatory compliance.

Expert and detailed practical training, this unique course covers both commercial, public and residential building pathology, developing the essential skills and knowledge needed as a Building Pathologist across the built heritage environment.

Who is this course for?

  • For anyone interested in a career in Building Pathology.
  • A general heritage crafts person, who wants to provide this type of service to their clients.
  • A current member of the Edifice Guild, to increase the scope of services within their Consultancy.
  • Municipal Building Inspectors.
  • Home Inspectors, wanting to expand their Consultancy.
  • Municipal Heritage Staff and Managers.
  • Built Heritage Site Administrators.

Owners’ appetite for evidence-based diagnostics, and Building Pathologist practitioners’ skills set to provide them with confidence to hire an Edifice Guild approved Building Pathologist!

A Message from Dr. Christopher Cooper:

Hello, I am Dr. Christopher Cooper, Director of Education at the Edifice Atelier, I have had a wonderful four-decade love affair and career with heritage buildings around the world, including commercial, public, and residential. I am the creator and developer of the Building Pathology Professional Intensive. There is no other stand-alone course available in the world that covers what the Edifice Atelier exclusively teaches and promotes. 

Module One: Fundamentals of Decay and Diagnosis of Pathology

Providing the basis of pathology science by examining the causes of decay and diagnosis of pathology (including a study of fungal contributors). A look at the damage caused by insects with an entomological study of the various insects that have become a problem.

Module Two: Investigation and Testing

Reviewing the various technologies and methods of building pathology such as
thermal IR cameras and damp and structural monitoring. Lead and asbestos safety as well as site safety.

Module Three: External Defects

Reviewing the major exterior defects of buildings such as building movement, façade damage and exterior historic materials and services defects (cause and effect).

Module Four: Internal Defects

Review the general defects and diagnosis of typical interior defects such as damp,
staining and ceiling and partition defects (cause and effect).

Module Five: Masonry Defects

An overview of typical brick and stone defects such as pointing, inappropriate mixes, cracking, efflorescence and moisture movement and migration.

Module Six: Timber Defects

A specific look at the main defect that affects timber such as damp, wet rot, insects and the differences between structural failure and cleavage (cracks).

Module Seven: Materials

An overview of defects in less common materials, such as metals, glass etc., found within the built environment.

Module Eight: Specialist Equipment Testing

A more focused study of specialist diagnosis of pathology. Focusing on more recent modern technologies available to the Building Pathologist such a thermal imaging, endoscopes, and drones.

Module Nine: Residential Pathology

An overview of the method and typical defects found in domestic properties and the types of reports to be completed by the Pathologist.

Module Ten: Commercial Pathology

An overview of the specialist field of commercial building pathology, looking at the different types of survey and their requirements.

Module Eleven: Historic Building Pathology

Specifically the review of historic buildings (in a public built heritage or museum environment)… issues such as breath-ability and specific types of defects found in buildings of different periods. For instance, buildings that require mothballing during the winter months.

Module Twelve: Defect Remedy

Propose remedial action arising from the critical diagnosis of building defects. And keeping current with respects to costing and the crafts-people available to execute said defect remedies.

Module Thirteen: Fundamentals of Architectural Photography

We will have an in-depth study of the equipment and the proper shooting techniques for the investigation process and how to better narrate the final report through photography.   

Module Fourteen: Writing the Final Report

How to compile and create the written report cover to cover. How to create a template to build your final report. Developing a service agreement with your client.


Winter/Spring 2023


14 Weeks | 140 Hours

Module tools:

Students will have access to all study materials, dedicated academic mentorship, and learning activities via an online learning platform (Live Zoom).

The Module Content Syllabus is broken down into structured study weeks to help students plan their time, with each week containing a mixture of reading, case studies, videos/recordings, and interactive activities to go through.

Online live Zoom instruction once a week, usually on a weekend afternoon (4 hours), to accommodate students busy schedules. This live session is the core of this intensive led by Dr. Christopher Cooper, and must be attended in real time to provide opportunities to consolidate knowledge, ask questions, discuss topics and work through learning activities together.

These sessions are recorded to support students and to enable students to recap the session and work through it at their own pace. Notwithstanding this the student intern is expected to attend all live Zoom classes.

Building Pathology Learning Outcomes:

This Professional Intensive is concerned with the pathology of buildings. It will develop the student interns’ ability to effectively diagnose and evaluate a range of commonly encountered building defects through a process of inspection, testing, survey and analysis. At the conclusion of this intensive the student intern will be tasked to create their own report as a final examination essay.

Once the final examination essay is reviewed with a passing grade, you will receive a one-year membership to the Edifice Guild with all the benefits of a full member to open your consultancy in Building Pathology.

Possible Income Range:

The range of income is much higher than the average home inspector, as this intensive prepares the student to become a Heritage Building Pathology Consultant.  Typically a Heritage Building Pathology Consultant earns approximately $75,000 – $125,000 per year as a sole proprietor. However, the remuneration is only dependent on how much work your consultancy is willing to take on and execute professionally, on time and on budget. Those with experience and/or qualifications who further themselves through professional development in other areas of related studies typically earn considerably higher income, with no limit on earnings. 

Start your journey today on a brand new career in Building Pathology

Request your Zoom interview with Dr. Christopher Cooper. Please fill out the form below.

There will only be 8-10 placements available for the Winter/Spring 2023 sessions

You will be sent a interview request once we evaluate your email submission. You will receive Zoom credentials for a one-on-one interview with Dr. Christopher Cooper.

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